Knowing your constitutional rights is not enough. People must maintain the environment and conditions favorable for the growth of democracy and should learn to use constitutional rights for the proper functioning of a democracy.
What would be your opinion when you hear or read a news like “ Mr. Vibhadra Singh threatened the media and warned them that he he will smash their cameras”? A spicy news for all the news channels, the daily newspapers and the readers, who would love to wonder what Raja Ji has been doing. The BJP sympathizers would find it very soothing to hear that. Well, that would add to the scoreboard of stinking political party war. On the other hand, the fans of Virbhadra Sing would feel an extreme wave of rage against the media. Even the rival media channels and papers join hands when it comes to threats. Quite justifiable because that’s the only thing that can prevent them from being a victim of the rising dictatorship of the wealthy and political giants.
Although every political group is indulged in the blame game but, most of all, the BJP finds it cozy to jump in the gutter and enjoy mud slinging as the emptiness inside the united face of the party is getting visible to the public. The factionalism in their own house and rebel activities in Himachal are two scary nightmares for the BJP. Think about it for a while. Why only during the election time? That’s one of the main aspect that every voter must perceive. Each word spoken and every action performed by the leader of a particular party project their character and the respect for moral rules in the game play. It doesn’t mean that Raja Ji is a victim of media exaggeration or political tricks of rivals. There could be material in all the allegations, which are causing a headache,especially for the Congress. Further, the undemocratic behavior on the part of some of its leaders is a very strong indication of prevailing misuse of the power of the state e.g. the congress didn’t even bother to consult its allies regarding the implementation of the FDI. A couple of weeks ago Salmaan Khurshid, our law minister, was threatening Keijarwal publicly using highly questionable language. Now, the reaction of the opposition leader, Virbhadra Singh, to a question regarding the tax evasion and money laundering allegations leveled by BJP might have untied his inner dictatorial wish. Have a look at the videos below.
Video Credits: NDTV/
Do you find these gestures appropriate on the part of two powerful political leaders? Why is there so much aggression if they are clean? Perhaps, these questions are scaring them as the polling day in nearing. These questions should be a great concern for the sheep herd, who find it highly tough to ‘Think’. The thinking faculty of of our people has been replaced by the perceptions based on the news headlines on TV Channels and spicy stories in the daily newspapers.
While most of us, who had wondered a lot when the TV Channel Aaj Tak disclosed the finding of their investigative operation ‘Dhritrashtra’, would have found it difficult to look for the progress that is being made in the case. Are those allegations true? If not, then did Salmaan proved that officially through any documented material evidences? It’s too much of the corruption. It’s beyond tolerance now. Our nation needs change. These are the opinions that the media gets from the public. Then why doesn’t it affect the culprits?
The answer is that Lord Vishnu has still not appeared as an Avatar, who will destroy the corruption from India and bring peace and prosperity for the human kind. Keep waiting guys, but it’s your inability to ‘unite and think’ that encourage aristocracy and corruption. The government doesn’t have anyone to be afraid of. The public has elected them itself, but doesn’t know how to take that power back or make the representatives responsible. There are a few who dares, but the shine of money and power push them to the corners. Sometimes, it sounds to be true that Indian public has a taste for slavery and the common man likes to be ruled. The public of our nation doesn’t seem to be fit for the democratic system of government e.g. Article 25, 26, 27 and 28 safeguard the religious freedom of all citizens, and wish for a secular state. That’s a mistake to give them that on the account of the behavioral characteristic shown by the majority of people in the Indian society. The democratic government is useless for such a public that doesn’t even know how to use the ‘Right To Expression’ and because these idiots believe in maintaining classification on the bases of caste or wealth & status. There are even subcategories in some of the castes. The political parties are not far behind in taking advantage of religious beliefs and provoke people to form religious groups, which are highly intolerable towards other religious beliefs. The RSS and Shiv Sena are two solid examples of it.
It’s a definite and certain fact that the democracy can’t work without the interference of the common public. In order to interfere, one must know and understand the concept of the democratic system. Knowledge and the reaction of the public is the only power that can eliminate the corruption and force the government to rectify the malfunctioning of the democratic machinery.
Moreover, the perception regarding the media should be changed. The media and the press are not just meant for the entertainment or just for watching and reading. The purpose of media is to circulate the true facts regarding any important news that matters to their Nation. Rest depends on the public. The public is the authority that needs to unite and demand justification from the government during the times like our nation going through presently. If denied cooperation, then use the Judiciary to punish the culprits legally. However, in a view that the common man would rarely dare to attempt an action using our judicial machinery, the environment becomes favorable for the growth of corruption. The world appears to be favoring only to the wealthy, politically relevant personalities and the powerful. Still, the awakening of the common man is the only permanent cure to the degraded condition of India.
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The only right the people of India know and are welcomed to consume is that of ‘voting’. In a nutshell, it’ll be a humorous joke to claim that we live in a democratic state, but afraid of using the rights given to us and, unfortunately, our fears are justifiable on the grounds that a greater part of the public is suffering from imbalances in the economy of the nation. You must survive first and then think about enjoying your rights.
HER EXISTENTIAL ANGST
“ We have been bearing the torture of losing our daughter. Despite all our efforts, repeated assurances and Court orders, we have not got any justice.”
Just another voice among those thousands of voices demanding justice for their daughters who had been raped. And just like that this voice would also fade away in times to come, while some voices would not even get the chance to surface. Yet, a question like ‘Was she being careful enough?’ is thrown at her, holding her accountable as if she brought this upon herself. Society would then have the audacity to not spare her with their further shallow remarks on what sort of clothes she was wearing, or at what time of the day was she out, or was she of ‘easy virtue’, or her age being the factor since her ‘youngness’ might have been all over the place or was she venturing out with her relatives as it’s safer like that.
These assumed ‘causes’ or rather myths set at the hands of society need a stern blow. Each time her dress is shredded into fragments and used as a weapon against her is normalising the gruesome sexual assault. How is it that restoration of modesty in Her dress code would guarantee its inverse proportionality to your perverse mindset?
She is vulnerable outside at every moment, 24×7, so the time of the day at which she is out does not make any difference. Rape is reported every 15 minutes according to the crime data released by the NCRB from 2018. A total of 32,033 cases of rapes were lodged in 2019. India recorded an average of 87 rape cases daily in 2019 and overall 4,05,861 cases of crime against women, a rise of over 7 % from 2018. This distinctly indicates that she is susceptible to rape every second of every minute of her entire life.
Categorizing her as one with ‘easy virtue’ is done by the society at the drop of a hat. Fine, she will face the consequences of partying late in clubs, drinking, having relationships but dare not use this as a vindication of rape. Barring her from following the lifestyle that she wants for herself since it’s her life, alone would not curb crimes against her. So stop moral policing the victim.
Moreover, her age and ‘youngness’ does not constitute her of getting raped as its not just young women who become victims of such heinous crime. NCRB data shows, in 2015, 10,854 cases of rape under Section 376 of the IPC & Section 4 and 6 of Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act were registered. In light of this data, I ask of you, what sort of ‘youngness ‘ did a newborn child of merely two months have offered or a grandmother as elderly as 86 years old?
She is aware of the fear of the unknown, but what about the fear of the known? As stated by NRCB in 2017, the accused were known to the victims in 93.1% cases, as many as 16,591 rape cases were against the family – friends, a certain cousin, uncles, employers, neighbours, friends, online friends, live-in partners, separated husbands of the victims or for the matter of fact their very own fathers, brothers and grandfathers. She suffers torment as a consequence of trust that she had in them – an acquaintance rape.
As if all of this wasn’t enough already, some very well ‘ educated ‘ men like Markandey Katju, although reiterating that he “ condemns the Hathras Gangrape” and calls for “ harshest punishment of the culprits”, however in all his capacity still stoops down to justify rape. In his long post, he chose to put all the blame on women and how they are bound to bear the brunt of crimes against them since “ sex is a natural urge in men”, he further adds that because India is a heavily populated & a conservative society so having sex is acceptable “ only through marriage” and as it is our country is facing massive unemployment due to economic crisis, therefore, men are deprived of sex, the result of which is an increase in rapes.
Now I Am unable to comprehend the logic that Mr Katju intends to state. Do women not experience any sexual urges or people like him and society at large consider that aspect ‘ unnatural ‘ for us? Or do men alone have claimed the patent for the same ? And as far as unemployment and economic crisis are concerned, why are women made to be the punching bags for the lack of governance? What exactly wrong did Manisha Valmiki and another Dalit girl in Balrampur do to deserve such sinister men? Manisha, a Dalit girl was raped by four Thakur men in Hathras. Her neck and spinal cord were damaged and her tongue was sliced. Even several days after this beyond the dreadful incident, BJP MLA Rajvir Diler says “ no rape occurred”, the hospital kept her in the general ward for six days while she was groaning and suffering in immense pain, the police cremated rather burnt her body without her family’s consent. Just days after she passed away fighting for her life, yet another Dalit girl in Balrampur was raped by two men. Both her back and legs were broken, lethal injection was given to shut her mouth and post all this horror she was murdered.
Both these cases are about Caste as much as it is about Gender. It is not debatable, even then MLA Rajvir Diler says “ There is no caste system in the village, everything is fine” ( SAB CHANGA SI – familiar enough ?). He is the same MP who accepted casteism and sat on the floor during his MLA days stating “ I Am the son of a Valmiki. I cannot break away from tradition. Let the world change, I won’t.”
The sheer privilege you must have to tell me not to make this about caste when discrimination predominantly based on gender and caste is practised daily in this country. Everything comes down to the “social conditioning” that one is brought up with. The problem mainly lies when we consider mere literacy as the sole criteria for educating Men. By doing this we only make them irresponsible in numerous ways. Rather have your boys learn about patriarchy, its toxicities, the boundaries that they are to remain in,* gender equality and respect, than plainly focusing on them being employed to support their families. And by the way, don’t “not all men” me for this because there are an inordinate amount of men who do inhumane and degrading things to women and would still have the guts to blatantly tell us that women somehow have it easy.
The aforementioned brutal rape of Dalit girls is a reflection of how mean and cruel we as a society have become. In fact, several days prior to when this atrocious crime took place, one of the powerful Bollywood actress who is celebrated across the nation for her outstanding performances, Kangana Ranaut posts an apathetic tweet, “ Caste system has been rejected by modern Indians, in small towns everyone knows it’s not acceptable anymore by law and order its nothing more than a sadistic pleasure for few, only our constitution is holding onto it in terms of Reservations.”
If you fail to see the caste angle in such crimes, you are being willfully ignorant. The only time we think caste is dead when it doesn’t affect us directly in any way. Therefore imparting “moral education” in all social aspects is our responsibility as a society because caging women in a set of constraints would not awaken the sense of morality in Your men and not acknowledging the caste system would not stop hate crimes against them. So, it’s about time for “moral reckoning.”
- Now the question arises; what is our government doing about it?
- It can build sky-high temples for all it cares.
- Exonerate the 32 accused in Babri Masjid’s demolition.
- Form an SIT amid nationwide outrage.
- Unleash police impunity by detaining at least 100 protestors from India Gate who were protesting against Hathras Gangrape.
- Can’t call out UP Police who burnt victim’s body in the middle of the night while having her family locked inside their houses, she wasn’t even given dignity in death.
- Rashtriya Savarna Parishad comes out in support of the Thakur rapists
BJP MLA Surendra Singh shares his bigoted ‘theory’ stating that girls need to be taught ‘sanskaar’(culture and values) as then only rape could be prevented since ‘shasan’ (governance ) and ‘talwar’ (sword) can’t stop anything.
Nonetheless, we see hoardings of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” everywhere. It never served the purpose, Dr. Priyanka Reddy, a 26- year old veterinary doctor from Shamshabad in Hyderabad was gang-raped and found dead with her body partially burnt under Chatanpally bridge. She was well educated, independent, and empowered woman, yet she could not be saved from getting raped. The police resorted to impulsive justice and unlawfully killed the culprits. Did this impulsive treatment of justice deter the four Thakur rapists from committing the same crime? This is not justice, it’s a ploy to shut down our demands for accountability from the police, judiciary and the government. Is the death penalty by hanging the solution to India’s rape crisis? Where it takes years and years of courtroom sessions as we all saw in the Nirbhaya Rape case. All of this is just a band-aid on a deep wound.
We need actual Judiciary reforms starting with having a better representation of women in higher Indian Judiciary. Till date we have no woman Chief Justice despite three women judges currently sitting in the Supreme Court, there seems to be no possibility as of now that we will have the first woman Chief Justice in the near future. There are already five male judges lined up to succeed in the present CJI until 2025.
In spite of their proficiency, hard work and struggle women lawyers are not recognised except for very few second-generation lawyers. According to the Supreme Court’s list of senior advocates, only 4% are women i.e 16 against 400 men. Even though Maharashtra has the highest no. of women lawyers, yet accounts for only 3.8% of senior women advocates in Bombay High Court.
Many pragmatic studies show that having even one woman on a 3- judge panel affects the entire panel’s decision-making in gender discrimination cases. When I previously mentioned Markandey Katju as a ‘ very well educated man’ by that I meant a man of high calibre, who was a former Supreme Court Judge, nevertheless made a long cold remark lacking in depth of intellect. No wonder justice is delayed or almost denied to the rape victims.
The entire structure of dispensation of justice needs revamping, otherwise, the victim shall no longer be the woman alone, but humanity at large. While you all tell us to wait as bringing in reforms in Judiciary, in men, in the social structure as a whole is a perennial endeavour and will take time, just assure us with your answer; how much more and for how long do we women Endure?
Image Credit: Pexels@Loanne Adela Low
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Himachal Watcher or its members.
Till we meet again: Shimla Water Crisis
The Honourable Supreme Court in its conclusion to the case Narmada Bachao Andolan Vs Union of India and others on October 18, 2000 states:
Water is the basic need for the survival of human beings and is part of the right of life and human rights as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India and can be served only by providing a source of water where there is none.
At the time of writing this article, the water crisis in Shimla is effectively over but the fault lines have already been drawn. The crisis placed the beautiful town of Shimla in the global spotlight for all the ugly reasons and highlighted the fissures in this fragile place.
Every source of media whether Indian or Western underscored the problem and compared it to the Cape Town Water crisis. A few went a step further and used the words such as “Day Zero” or “Water Wars” in respect of Shimla without exactly understanding the gravity of the situation and the message the words carry.
Day Zero is when in any town or city the authorities shut off the water supply except hospitals and other vital institution with the majority of residents lining up at water check-points for their daily supply.
Water wars need no introduction except that it takes place between the haves and the have-nots.
All this was done without giving a thought to one’s social responsibility as a citizen or a source of information no matter authentic or apocryphal.
Shimla & Cape Town
Shimla is no Cape Town; it will have to walk several hundred miles to become something even remotely close to it. Cape Town had suffered three years of unprecedented drought, which depleted its water reservoirs supplying water to the city. Due to this, the city had advised its residents to prepare themselves for the purported Day Zero, the year being 2018.
However, before that Cape Town had already embarked on the path for conservation in the year 2007 and had prepared Water Conservation and Water Demand Management Strategy (WC/WDM).
If there existed any prescience in a city in a third world country, then it was Cape Town. Before the introduction of the programme, the water consumption in the city was growing at the rate of 4.7% per annum.
But through its excellent management strategies and innovation Cape Town was able to reduce water consumption growth at a rate of less than 2% per annum. It resulted in a reduction of water wastage by 20% and total water savings of 30% approx.).
For its sustained efforts and successful conservation, Cape Town won first prize for Adaption & Implementation in C40 Cities Award 2015 beating 91 cities including Copenhagen and Paris.
The city did not encourage the tourists to stay away- rather it launched “Save Like a Local Campaign” requesting tourists to keep their water usage to under 87 liters per day, the same restrictions placed on residents. In Cape Town, the Mayor can anytime come knocking at your door to check the water management.
In this city only, the top 100 water user streets were publicised. Water tariffs were structured to cater to poor households. And our intentions are to see ourselves at par with this city, a city that even in times of distress has maintained its dignity.
South Eastern Queensland
Entire Australia suffered drought in the 2000s due to climatic disturbances with South East Queensland being the major casualty. During the beginning of the drought, the per person usage of the Queenslanders was 300 liters per person per day for washing, eating, drinking, and gardening.
Come the year 2015, it was reduced to 169 liters per person per day. Even before the worst phase of drought began in the year 2007, the outdoor water-related restrictions were already in place since 2005.
It was then, that the Queensland Water Commission launched the Target 140 campaign. The campaign emphasized voluntary residential indoor water saving practices, behaviors and attitudes.
The campaign was a success since it achieved a permanent behavioral and attitudinal change. Over a sustained period of eight months of the campaign, the average daily water consumption dropped from 179 liters to 126 liters per person per day.
This change effectively resulted in savings of 20,680 million liters of water.
Life is always full of options, and one such option is “Fight or Flight” and we the people of Shimla choose the flight option when we requested tourists to skip Shimla this summer.
This might have worked for now with tourists staying away from Shimla but this may not work every time. And it will be not long before we realize that such exhortations will strip Shimla of its Soul first and silver later.
We the people of Shimla take pride by seeing ourselves in one of the richest and educated towns in the country. But it is high time, we realize that the next summer is only 300 days away and this crisis is not to be wasted.
We need to learn, how other cities of the world managed to come out of such crises and set examples for the whole world to see. It needs to be ensured that the crisis is not given a rerun the next summer but it will involve drudgery (being primal) on the part of everyone living in Shimla or loving Shimla.
Initially, on the macro level, we need to focus on both the supply side as well as the demand side. First, we should begin with the cheaper solutions i.e. the demand side solutions. The stakeholders in this being residents, hotels, tourists and it can be done by a change in our attitudes. Our behavior and attitudes should reflect the water saving practices which over a period of time become the norm for us.
Incentivising water saving would be the step to go forward on the similar lines of Carbon credits, how about Blue credits. Next would be the supply side solutions, i.e. the costly ones, augmenting the resources catering to Shimla, be it the upcoming Government Schemes or the existing supply schemes.
The city under all circumstances should be prepared for the worst day if it so ever comes.
On a micro level, the dead water or zero revenue water should be reduced, which would effectively mean overhauling the supply systems, so that there are no leakages.
Equipping our buildings with rainwater harvesting systems and similarly incentivising this practice would also go a long way in recharging the groundwater.
Meanwhile, improving the city drainage system would mean that outpouring does not end up in the city sewers. Replacement of the old and antiquated water meters, so that the profligate users are identified and brought to justice.
Taking of Shimla from grey to green by increasing its greenery would ensure that we do not give into concrete. The publishing of Water Report every year, before the onset of summer, outlining water availability in the upcoming months, would ensure that all the stakeholders are made aware in advance of the upcoming water situation.
And all this would begin with a realization of our rights, of our authority and an adage, which goes by Of the People, By the People, For the People, always in the back of our mind.
Water scarcity is here to stay and if there is any chance, it is going to go northwards only.
By Maneet, Shimla
Disclaimer: Himachal Watcher may not share the same views and opinions as expressed by the author in this article.
Why I am resigning from BJP: A data analyst
Political discourse is at it’s lowest point in the country, at least in my lifetime. The partisanship bias is unbelievable and people continue to support their side no matter what the evidence, there is no remorse even when they’re proved to have been spreading fake news. This is something that everyone — the parties and the voters/supporters are to be blamed for.
BJP has done a great job at spreading some specific messages with incredibly effective propaganda, and these messages are the primary reason that I can’t support the party anymore. But before we get into any of that, I’d like everyone to understand that no party is totally bad, and no party is totally good. All governments have done some good and messed up on some fronts. This government is no different.
1. Road construction is faster than it was earlier. There has been a change in the methodology of counting road length, but even factoring that in it seems to be faster.
2. Electricity connection increased
All villages electrified and people getting electricity for more hours. (Congress did electrify over 5 lakh villages and Modi ji finished the job by connecting the last 18k so, you can weigh the achievement as you like. Similarly, the number of hours people get electricity has increased ever since independence, but it might be a larger increase during BJP).
3. Upper-level corruption is reduced
No huge cases at the ministerial level as of now (but the same was true of UPA I :/ ). Lower level seems to be about the same with increased amounts, no one seems to be able to control the thanedar, patwari et al.
4. The Swachh Bharat Mission is a definite success
More toilets built than before and Swachhta is something embedded in people’s minds now.
5. UJJWALA Yojana is a great initiative
How many people buy the second cylinder remains to be seen. The first one and a stove were free, but now people need to pay for it. The cost of cylinders has almost doubled since the government took over and now one costs more than Rs. 800.
6. Connectivity for the North East has undoubtedly increased
More trains, roads, flights and most importantly — the region is now discussed in the mainstream news channels.
7. Law and order is reportedly better than it was under regional parties.
Feel free to add achievements you can think of in the comments below, also achievements necessarily have caveats, failures are absolute!
It takes decades and centuries to build systems and nations, the biggest failure I see in BJP is that it has destroyed some great things on very flimsy grounds.
It basically legalizes corruption and allows corporate & foreign powers to just buy our political parties. The bonds are anonymous so if a corporate says I’ll give you an electoral bond of 1,000 crores if you pass this specific policy, there will be no prosecution. There just is no way to establish quid pro quo with an anonymous instrument. This also explains how corruption is reduced at the Ministerial level — it isn’t per file/order, it is now like the US — at the policy level.
Planning Commission Reports
This used to be a major source for data. They audited government schemes and stated how things are going. With that gone, there just is no choice but to believe whatever data the government gives you (CAG audits come out after a long time!). NITI Aayog doesn’t have this mandate and is basically a think tank and PR agency. Plan/Non-Plan distinction could be removed without removing this!
Misuse of CBI and ED
It is being used for political purposes as far as I can see, but even if it isn’t the fear that these institutions will be unleashed on them if they speak up against anything Modi/Shah related is real. This is enough to kill dissent, an integral component of democracy.
Failure to investigate Kalikho Pul’s suicide note, Judge Loya’s death, Sohrabuddin murder, the defense of an MLA accused of Rape who’s relative is accused of killing the girl’s father and FIR wasn’t registered for over a year..!
It failed, but worse is BJP’s inability to accept that it failed. All propaganda of it cutting terror funding, reducing cash, eliminating corruption is just absurd. It also killed off businesses.
Implemented in a hurry and harmed business. Complicated structure, multiple rates on different items, complex filing… Hopefully, it’ll stabilize in time, but it did cause harm. Failure to acknowledge that from BJP is extremely arrogant.
The messed up foreign policy with pure grandstanding
China has a port in Sri Lanka, huge interests in Bangladesh and Pakistan — we’re surrounded, the failure in Maldives (Indian workers not getting visas anymore because of India’s foreign policy debacle) while Modi Ji goes out to foreign countries and keeps saying Indians had no respect in the world before 2014 and now they’re supremely respected (This is nonsense. Indian respect in foreign countries was a direct result of our growing economy and IT sector, it hasn’t improved an ounce because of Modi. Might even have declined due to beef based lynchings, threats to journalists etc.)
Failure of schemes and failure to acknowledge/course correct
Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, Make In India, Skill Development, Fasal Bima (look at reimbursements — the government is lining the pockets of insurance companies). Failure to acknowledge unemployment and farmers crisis — calling every real issue an opposition stunt.
The high prices of Petrol and Diesel
Modi Ji and all BJP ministers + supporters criticized Congress for it heavily and now all of them justify the high prices even though crude is cheaper than it was then! Just unacceptable.
Failure to engage with the most important basic issues
Education and Healthcare. There is just nothing on education which is the nation’s biggest failure. Quality of government schools has deteriorated over the decades (ASER reports) and no action. They did nothing on Healthcare for 4 years, then Ayushman Bharat was announced — that scheme scares me more than nothing being done. Insurance schemes have a terrible track record and this is going the US route, which is a terrible destination for healthcare (watch Sicko by Michael Moore)!
You can add some and subtract some based on personal understanding of the issue, but this is my assessment. The Electoral Bonds thing is huge and hopefully, the SC will strike it down! Every government has some failures and some bad decisions though, the bigger issue I have is more on morals than anything else.
The real negative of this government is how it has affected the national discourse with a well-considered strategy. This isn’t a failure, it’s the plan.
It has discredited the media, so now every criticism is brushed off as a journalist who didn’t get paid by BJP or is on the payrolls of Congress. I know several journalists for whom the allegation can’t be true, but more importantly, no one ever addresses the accusation or complaint — they just attack the person raising the issue and ignore the issue itself.
It has peddled a narrative that nothing happened in India in 70 years.
This is patently false and the mentality is harmful to the nation. This government spent over Rs. 4,000 crore of our taxpayer money on advertisements and now that will become the trend. Do small works and huge branding. He isn’t the first one to build roads — some of the best roads I’ve traveled on were pet projects of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. India became an IT powerhouse from the 90s. It is easy to measure past performance and berate past leaders based on the circumstances of today, just one example of that:
Why did Congress not build toilets in 70 years?
They couldn’t even do something so basic. This argument sounds logical and I believed it too, until I started reading India’s history. When we gained independence in 1947 we were an extremely poor country, we didn’t have the resources for even basic infrastructure and no capital. To counteract this PM Nehru went down the socialist path and created PSU’s. We had no capacity to build steel, so with the help of Russians the Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC), Ranchi was set up that made machines to make steel in India — without this we would have no steel, and consequently no infrastructure.
That was the agenda — basic industries and infra. We had frequent droughts (aakaal), every 2–3 years and a large number of people starved to death. The priority was to feed the people, toilets were a luxury no one cared for. The Green Revolution happened and the food shortages disappeared by the 1990s — now we have a surplus problem. The toilet situation is exactly like people asking 25 years from now why Modi couldn’t make all houses in India air conditioned. That seems like a luxury today, toilets were also a luxury at some point of time. Maybe things could have happened sooner, maybe 10–15 years ago, but nothing happened in 70 years is a horrible lie to peddle.
3. The spread and reliance on Fake News
There is some anti-BJP fake news too, but the pro-BJP and anti-opposition fake news outstrips that by miles in number and in reach. Some of it is supporters, but a lot of it comes from the party. It is often hateful and polarizing, which makes it even worse. The online news portals backed by this government are damaging society more than we know.
4. Hindu Khatre Mein Hain
They’ve ingrained it into the minds of people that Hindus and Hinduism are in danger, and that Modi is the only option to save ourselves. In reality Hindus have been living the same lives much before this government and nothing has changed except people’s mindset. Were we Hindus in danger in 2007? At least I didn’t hear about it everyday and I see no improvement in the condition of Hindus, just more fear mongering and hatred.
5. Speak against the government and you’re anti-National and more recently, anti-Hindu
Legitimate criticism of the government is shut up with this labeling. Prove your nationalism, sing Vande Mataram everywhere (even though BJP leaders don’t know the words themselves, they’ll force you to sing it!). I’m a proud nationalist and my nationalism won’t allow me to let anyone force me to showcase it! I will sing the national anthem and national song with pride when the occasion calls for it, or when I feel like it, but I won’t let anyone force me to sing it based on their whims!
6. Running news channels that are owned by BJP leaders who’s sole job is to debate Hindu-Muslim, National-Antinational, India-Pakistan and derail the public discourse from issues and logic into polarizing emotions. You all know exactly which ones, and you all even know the debaters who’re being rewarded for spewing the vilest propaganda.
7. The polarization
The message of development is gone. BJP’s strategy for the next election is polarization and inciting pseudo-nationalism. Modi ji has basically said it himself in speeches — Jinnah; Nehru; Congress leaders didn’t meet Bhagat Singh in jail (fake news from the PM himself!); INC leaders met leaders in Pakistan to defeat Modi in Gujarat; Yogi ji’s speech on how Maharana Pratap was greater than Akbar; JNU students are anti-national they’ll #TukdeTukdeChurChur India — this is all propaganda constructed for a very specific purpose — polarize and win elections — it isn’t the stuff I want to be hearing from my leaders and I refuse to follow anyone who is willing to let the nation burn in riots for political gain.
These are just some of the instances of how BJP is pushing the national discourse in a dark corner. This isn’t something I signed up for and it totally isn’t something I can support. That is why I am resigning from BJP.
PS: I supported BJP since 2013 because Narendra Modi Ji seemed like a ray of hope for India and I believed in his message of development — that message and the hope are now both gone. The negatives of this Narendra Modi and Amit Shah government now outweigh the positives for me, but that is a decision that every voter needs to make individually. Just know that history and reality are complicated. Buying into simplistic propaganda and espousing cult-like unquestioning faith are the worst thing you can do — it is against the interests of democracy and of this nation.
You all have your own decisions to make as the elections approach. Best of luck with that. My only hope is that we can all live and work harmoniously together — and contribute towards making a better, stronger, poverty-free and developed India, no matter what party or ideology we support. Always remember that there are good people on both sides, the voter needs to support them and they need to support each other even when they are in different parties.
By Shivam Shankar Singh – The author is a former-data analytics for the BJP’s poll campaigns.
Disclaimer: The blog has been re-published with permission of the author and without much editing. The opinion expressed in it does not necessarily reflect Himachal Watcher’s point of view.
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